Fieldfare – 1994

Turdus pilaris – SOCAN EIRA – Winter visitor and passage migrant. Not recorded in July and August

Fieldfares normally arrive in Pembrokeshire from the middle of October to late November, with occasional earlier birds occurring from 14 September onwards. Large numbers pass though, many stopping to feed during the day and staying into December in years when the berry crop is heavy. Most movement is probably nocturnal; Fieldfares are seldom heard calling from the night sky but they have been noted at the lantern of the South Bishop lighthouse. Coastal falls at well-watched localities indicate variable passage the previous night. There is also an occasional marked diurnal passage, as when about 1,000 came in off the sea from the north and north-east at Strumble Head on the morning of 2 November 1986, to join about 2,000 others that had piled up in the fields there. A party of about 750 departed north-westwards towards Ireland at dusk.

Fieldfares are normally well distributed across the wet pastures of Pembrokeshire during the winter, sometimes forming large roosts. For example, about 4,000 roosted in sitka spruce at Pantmaenog Forest in February 1984. Hard weather brings further large numbers in to the county, many of which pass on, but prolonged severe weather can cause considerable mortality.

Most Fieldfares depart in March and early April, when there is also a through passage. Fieldfares have been noted at the lantern of the Smalls lighthouse at this period. Some linger into May or even beyond, the latest records being 31 May and, at Skokholm, a single bird on 10 and 13 June 1980.

Donovan J.W. & Rees G.H (1994), Birds of Pembrokeshire

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